When you’re a professional wrestler who spends most of their life on the road surrounded by other professional wrestlers, it’s natural that you’re going to make some friends in the business. It’s lonely enough spending so much time away from home without finding a way to turn your fellow wrestlers into best friends. In fact, there have been many instances throughout the years of professional wrestlers that were feuding on-screen and partying in the back. Some wrestlers even swear that having a close personal friendship with their opponents allows them to have the best feuds possible.
Sometimes, though, friendships in the wrestling industry begin well before the tours start. On a few occasions, wrestlers have actually known each other before they even knew for certain that they wanted to be professional wrestlers. While the career paths of these performers may have taken them in vastly different directions, they were always able to look back on those days before the bright lights and big shows when they were just a couple of friends wondering what life would bring. It doesn’t happen often, but these are the 15 wrestlers who knew each other before getting into the business. You'll also learn some cool 'how they met' stories.
15 Haku and The Barbarian Were Both Sent to Japan by the King of Tonga to Learn Sumo
14 Road Warrior Hawk and Animal Worked as Club Bouncers Together
The professional wrestling business used to be a very different world than it is now. Once upon a time, promoters sought stars from all walks of life. They were particularly interested in blue-collar types who had a good build or a unique look to go along with a desire to escape the doldrums of their day jobs. Bouncers were usually one of the best sources for potential pro wrestlers, which is how Road Warrior Hawk and Animal came into the wrestling business.
13 Shinsuke Nakamura and Bryan Danielson were Roommates with Lyoto Machida
Technically, this one is a bit of a cheat given that everyone involved was on their way to becoming a wrestler at that point, but given that this is a crazy story that involves people who were not big name wrestlers at the time, we’ll throw it in anyway. Back in the early 2000s, a new generation of wrestlers were making a name for themselves in the indies while a new generation of MMA stars were starting to train. One of the hubs for all this talent was the Inoki Dojo in Santa Monica, California. While training at this dojo, Bryan Danielson, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Lyoto Machida decided to become roommates.
12 Olympic Weightlifter Ken Patera Met Ric Flair While Flair was a Bouncer
11 Lex Luger and Ron Simmons Played in the USFL Together
While bouncers and laborers were pretty bountiful sources of future professional wrestlers back in the day, some long-time athletes did eventually become wrestlers too. As you might imagine, one of the most sports among future professional wrestlers was football. Thousands of incredible athletes joined the college football ranks, but as only a few could ever make it to the NFL, those who did not were often left to pursue other paths. For instance, when Lex Luger was kicked off the Miami Hurricanes, he eventually joined the USFL as a member of the Tampa Bay Bandits.
10 Edge and Christian Were Best Friends For Most of Their Lives
Sometimes, destiny just smiles on the world and the right people happen to be in the right place at the right time. Such was the case when Adam Copeland and Jay Reso met in the town of Orangeville, Ontario when they were only kids. Copeland called Orangeville his home since the time he was born. He spent much of his time in the town following professional wrestling. Reso shared that love of professional wrestling which is why the two were so quick to become friends when Reso moved to Orangeville at a young age.
9 Shelton Benjamin Was Brock Lesnar’s Assistant Coach and Roommate in College
8 Brutus Beefcake and Hulk Hogan Were So Close, Many People Believed They Were Brothers
7 Chyna, Triple H, and Perry Saturn All Joined the Same Wrestling School Together
It’s always strange hearing about famous people’s paths crossing at a young age. That’s especially true when said famous people end up having a complicated relationship. Such was the case when Triple H, Perry Saturn, and Chyna all entered Killer Kowalski’s wrestling school at around the same time. While many know that Chyna and Triple H would go on to join WWE and have a real-life relationship, few might know that Triple H and Perry Saturn actually formed an early friendship and well-respected tag team.
6 Jerry Lawler and Jimmy Hart Were High School Friends and Bandmates
5 Xavier Woods and Cody Rhodes Were High School Rivals
While, "friends" might be a bit of a stretch in this instance, but these two certainly knew each other. Both Xavier Woods and Cody Rhodes were amateur wrestling standouts during high school. In another life, they might have been best friends. Unfortunately, the two happened to go to rival schools. Their paths eventually crossed when Rhodes beat Woods during a major rivalry match. According to Woods, he later met Rhodes at a bowling alley when he found out that a girl he had a crush on was there with Rhodes.
4 The Nasty Boys Were Lifelong Friends
3 Ted DiBiase, Tito Santana, and Tully Blanchard Were All on the Same College Football Team
2 Sting and The Ultimate Warrior Were Two Bodybuilders that Decided to Become Professional Wrestlers
1 Rick Rude and Mr. Perfect Were Best Friends In A High School Class Full of Professional Wrestlers
We’ve seen some pretty incredible instances of friends who would eventually go on to become wrestlers throughout this list, but this is certainly the most incredible of them all. Years ago, students at Robbinsdale High School in Robbinsdale, Minnesota unknowingly walked the school’s halls with an impressive collection of professional wrestling greats. Yes, Tom Zenk, Nikita Koloff, Rick Rude, Brady Boone, John Nord, Curt Hennig, and Barry Darsow all went to the same high school together. While those men would all go on to achieve various levels of success in professional wrestling, the fact that all of them went on to become somewhat notable professional wrestlers is pretty impressive.
Of the group, Rude and Henning were certainly the closest of friends. They would remain so until their respective untimely deaths.
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